At one point during the two hour forty five minute long new “Transformers” movie, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” which came out yesterday, June 28, 2014, the new face of the franchise, Mark Wahlberg, comes rushing onto screen, shouting, “We’re running out of time, let’s get out of here!” Although Wahlberg only yelled the sentence once, I heard it whispered throughout the theater about half a dozen times as exhausted moviegoers realized that they were unable to continue watching the drawn-out big-budget spectacle.
Most of the viewers who abandon the movie made the same mistake – they forgot what they had paid to see. I chose my title for the article carefully, or, at the very least, I thought of a decent rationalization for the clunky title that I pasted on this article at 3am. For fans of the franchise, or the frequently mocked director’s work, Bay-est may as well be best, as this Transformers movie once again reminded fans why Bay is the best at what he does. However, for those who are not fans of his high-budget, over-the-top, predictable action flicks, Bay-est means that this movie has Bay’s recognizable thumbprints on every single frame.
The movie is exactly what viewers should expect – it is another guaranteed blockbuster for one of the most successful movie franchise of all time. As usual, the plot is shaky, things explode constantly for no reason, the actions scenes drag on for unbelievably long periods of time, the dialogue is cheesy and over-the-top, and the moments intended to make audiences laugh-out-loud instead elicit a strained chuckle or half-smile. In other words, exactly what Bay hoped it would be. It’s a movie made for teenage boys.
And in that case, it’s a perfectly fine movie.
That being said, even those in the target audience will likely get a bit bored at points during the nearly three-hour-long extravaganza, and even the viewers only attending for the fast cars and big explosions will notice, and become sickened by the overwhelming product placement. The movie constantly shoves brands into the viewers faces, which wouldn’t be awful if it were done in standard action movie format whereby the camera pans over the emblem of whatever brand of car is being used in the chase scenes. Unfortunately, they go way behind standard product placement, and the film actually comes to a complete and total stop twice for actors to consume branded beverages. Wahlberg stops in the middle of the hellish scene to open and drink a Bud Light, while another character is shown sipping a Chinese drink I’m unfamiliar with out of a small carton for almost a full minute of screen time.
Fans of the franchise will also be disappointed by the inclusion of several unnecessary scenes that don’t add to the story or feature explosions. For example, there’s a scene where Wahlberg’s daughter, played by Nicola Peltz, gets off a bus, talks to a few unnamed friends and then runs to the house – the friends never re-appear, the conversation did nothing for the plot, and it had no business being in the film. Likewise, there are about a dozen shots of Wahlberg thinking about something with a sunset behind him, and, sure, the sunset is pretty, but it just makes the movie feel like it could have used a few editors to keep the film relegated to the explosive mess fans love.
Overall, the film should satisfy fans of the franchise, but it’s unlikely that it will blow them away. Those who weren’t fond of the first installments should certainly steer clear of the film, as the three-hour Michael Bay project will have them glancing at their watch almost as often as they look at the screen.